Over the last few years biosafety is one of the most important emerging technologies used by microbiologists, life scientists and laboratory workers that handle potentially hazardous materials. When the Covid-19 virus appeared in 2020 and caused high number of deaths biosafety became the most important technology and the weapon in the fight with the virus.
It has long been recognized that laboratory workers can acquire infections from the biological agents they manipulate. Among these hazardous materials are:
- pathogenic and infectious biological agents (example: Covid-19, Ebola)
- toxic chemicals and carcinogenic (example: pesticides)
- mutagenic, or teratogenic reagents (example: arsenic)
To protect laboratory workers against those hazardous/biological materials, four biosafety levels were developed (Table 1). For each biosafety level there are specific supervisory qualifications as an assurance that laboratory workers are provided with appropriate rules and knowledge. Various types of specialized laboratory equipment are used to provide primary barriers between the microorganism and the laboratory worker. These range from disposable gloves and other personal protective equipment to complex biosafety cabinets or other containment devices.
Sources of aerosols
Primary barriers are necessary to protect laboratory workers against danger. Some of the laboratory equipment used for sample preparation are potential sources of aerosols. Hazardous aerosols can be generated by many laboratory operations, e.g. blending, mixing, grinding, shaking, stirring, sonicating and centrifuging of infectious materials. Even when safe equipment is used, it is best to carry out these operations in an approved biological safety cabinet whenever possible. The use of safety equipment is no assurance of protection unless the operator is trained and uses proper techniques. Equipment should be tested regularly to ensure its continued safe performance. One item of equipment which can be the source of aerosols is a centrifuge. During the high speed centrifugation there is a high risk that aerosols can escape from the tube. This situation can happen when the user is using uncapped tubes, or the tube will break during centrifugation or be somehow damaged. To avoid this type of risk, rotors and used accessories have to be properly designed to minimize aerosol splashes or other inadvertent releases.
OHAUS BIOSEALS rotors and accessories
To comply with safety requirements and protect laboratory workers, OHAUS offers a wide range of BIOSEAL accessories per the according to the DIN EN 61010-2-020:03-2007 standard. Rules described in the DIN standard, apply to the health and safety of laboratory workers working with hazardous materials classified into four Biosafety Levels or risk groups 1 to 4. All centrifugation of Risk Group 2 agents or higher shall be done using centrifuge safety buckets with safety caps or in sealed centrifuge tubes in sealed rotors. OHAUS offers both, BIOSEAL Angle rotors for micro tubes and Swing out rotors with BIOSEALS buckets used for higher sample volume. All BIOSEALS rotors has to be used with a lid and/or certificated buckets.
For more information about OHAUS BIOSEALS rotors and accessories, contact your regional OHAUS representative.
Table 1. Laboratory Biosafety Levels (BSLs).
Biosafety: Guidelines for Working with Pathogenic and Infectious Microorganisms (nih.gov)
Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories—6th Edition (cdc.gov)